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Editorial: Who are the nameless perpetrators?

As peace talks in Doha are obstructed by spats over which Islamic Jurisprudence to pick for resolving issues that might arise during the parleys, the situation on the ground in Afghanistan is lamentable. Although the Chairman of High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) has recently claimed the rift over the Hanafi jurisprudence was somewhat resolved, Afghan people are bearing the brunt of increased violence. In a shocking incident, a suicide bombing in Nangarhar province killed 16 people, including a woman and children. Family members of Bismillah Jan Shinwari, an Afghan prominent cricket umpire, were also killed and wounded in the blast that occurred on Saturday in the vicinity of the Ghanikhil district center. In this latest wave of increased violence, a steep uptick has been noticed in VBIEDs across the country – an alteration in the usual way war is waged. Unfortunately, the situation has turned as ambiguous as it could get. The perpetrators are unknown for such atrocities because neither the Taliban nor any other terrorist group claims responsibility despite the insurgents and other groups such as Daesh terrorists are active in the east. The Presidential Palace sees the Taliban and other terrorist groups working in collusion to perpetrate such terrorist attacks whereas former President Hamid dubbed the rise violence in the country amid intra-Afghan talks ‘a foreign conspiracy’ aimed at scuttling the negotiations. The attack drew ringing denunciations from numerous quarters, who called for the prosecution of the perpetrators – but who are they? There are two reasonable interpretations of the current bleak situation: one that the Taliban have adopted a new policy of backing out of their own attacks and avoiding to overtly claiming responsibility for thems. The second possibility is that there are spoilers, effective and disruptive now more than ever, in play which wants the peace process jeopardized. It’s not entirely impossible that the bombings aren’t the Taliban’s neo-normal means of waging war because if they do claim credit for them, they stand to come under serious fire and criticism from the international community and the Afghan public. After all, a spike in violence on the ground is inevitably helping the insurgent group to gain leverage and make its demands accepted on the negotiating table. On the other hand, the role of peace spoilers cannot be disregarded as well. Currently, it’s an opportunity for them to sow seeds of distrust among the sides and obstruct the talks through one way or another. If that’s the case, the Afghan negotiating sides should work jointly to frustrate such plots (mainly externally-masterminded) in order to avoid impeding progress in the ongoing peace parleys. Besides avoiding inflicting casualties on each other through a ceasefire – or at least a true reduction in violence – they should work for making the talks a success and thus put an end to the massacre of innocent Afghans as collateral damage of their war. This would help clear the fog and identify the real perpetrators and Afghans’ enemies.

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